Metro awards $86 million contract for disabled rider service

Metro said Friday that it awarded an $86 million contract to five vendors for MetroAccess, its door-to-door shuttle service for disabled riders.

The winners of the contract include Veolia Transportation for $36.46 million, First Transit for $22.07 million, Diamond Transportation for $9.79 million, MV Transportation for $14.61 million and MTM for $2.55 million.

Veolia, First Transit and Diamond will be responsible for providing the drivers and maintaining the vehicles. MV Transportation will manage the MetroAccess call center and MTM will be in charge of quality assurance of the other four vendors.

The contracts are for five years and have an additional five year renewal option.

In a press release, Metro General Manager Richard Sarles promised better service for customers because companies are “being held to even stricter performance standards for reliability.”

Riders have complained about poor service, late vehicles and other problems with the MetroAccess service.

Under the new contracts, Metro said there will be more incentives and disincentives for vehicles that are late. There will also be performance measures and financial penalties for those whose service drops below a 90 percent on-time level.

Metro has been searching for a new contractor since June 2012. The previous contractor to Metro for the disabled rider service was with MV Transportation.

MetroAccess serves about 27,000 people who take roughly 2 million trips a year.

Breaking up the contract with multiple vendors “strengthens our ability to leverage each of them,” said Christian Kent, who heads Metro’s department that services disabled riders.

Dana Hedgpeth is the Washington Post’s lead reporter in covering the Metro rail and bus systems in the D.C. region and the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA) that runs them.
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Dana Hedgpeth | March 1, 2013